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Weeds and Their Control: Quickweed (Galinsoga parviflora)

galinsoga parvifloraAlso known as gallant soldiers, this annual weed is a member of the daisy family, (Asteraceae) It is a native of South America but has spread to many other parts of the world including Europe and North America where it inhabits waste places and cultivated areas such as gardens. Quickweed likes moist fertile soil in sun to partial shade. Although used as a culinary herb in Colombia, quickweed is considered a weed in most other places.

Quickweed grows to be an erect branched plant twelve to twenty four inches tall. It has pointed light green leaves with toothed margins. The flower heads form at the tips of branches and are comprised of three to eight ray florets surrounding a center of tubular yellow disc flowers. The root system is thick and fibrous.

Quickweed is an annual but produces a huge amount of seed. It germinates in the early spring and can produce many generations in a single season. The most important step in controlling it is to prevent the plant from flowering and going to seed. Mulching greatly inhibits the germination of seed and hoeing removes young seedlings easily, Larger plants are more difficult to remove because of the root system but can be eliminated by hand pulling.